Education 'worse than under apartheid'

Johannesburg - South Africa's education system is worse today than the "gutter education" the country had under the apartheid government, says academic and struggle heroine Mamphela Ramphele.

"Maths literacy... what is that? It's worse than the arithmetic I did under Bantu education," The Star quoted Ramphele as saying.

She was addressing the sixth annual Solomon Mahlangu lecture at the University of Johannesburg.

Ramphele criticised the much praised matric pass rate and said it was deceptive, consigning thousands to a life that promised neither further education nor employment.

She lashed out at the 30% pass benchmark, saying it degraded education standards and was used for political purposes.

"Kader Asmal [former education minister] fell for micropolitics when, under his watch, a 40% pass rate suddenly became 70%."

Ramphele also criticised the 70.2% pass rate achieved by last year's matriculants.

"There was a great razzmatazz about the 'historic' 70.2%, but this performance was deceptive - less than 500 000 people showed up to write their matric exams; 539 102 students [who were in Grade 1, 12 years prior] disappeared from the system. The department of education must tell us what happened to those children."

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